UCP Iron Horse Ambassador
Brent Thunberg is a young adult who has been involved with United Cerebral Palsy of West Central Wisconsin (UCP) in a variety of ways since age four. Brent is the youngest son of Judy and Bruce Thunberg of Rice Lake, Wisconsin. Brent also has a sister, Jessie, and two brothers, Rusty and Brian. When he was born, his mom, Judy, said that she had no idea how cerebral palsy would affect Brent’s life. The family decided to just take one day at a time. This has been a successful attitude, especially when needing to deal with surgeries and the family’s decision to have Brent fully involved with family and community activities.
Brent started riding (lead line) horses when he was about four. By third grade he was riding and showing horses independently through 4-H and open shows. Riding seemed to have a positive impact on Brent’s coordination. 4-H also gave him experiences with archery, trap shooting, photography, and even the opportunity to refurbish a tractor! Brent became a Youth Leader for 4-H when he was in high school.
Brent’s family always included him in their farm, home, business, and recreational activities. Judy and Bruce wanted to help Brent understand both his challenges and possibilities. Judy felt that including Brent in a variety of things gave him a lot of stimulation and motivation. Brent always looked up to his older siblings and he wanted to do everything they were doing. Having a very determined attitude, Brent realized some things would be harder but he could always try. With more successes than not, Brent wanted to be part of the football program during junior high school. When this didn’t work out, Brent stayed involved with the team by helping out on the sidelines during practices and games. Brent is now involved with Fishing Has No Boundaries, Rice Lake Rod and Gun Field of Dreams, UCP Ambassador (riding his horse in many local parades), working as a cashier, and working in the family business, Bud’s Tool and Party Rental.
Another dream Brent had was to own and ride a motorcycle of his own someday, so he could share the experience with other family members who also enjoyed motorcycle riding. The problem was that although Brent has a valid Wisconsin driver’s license, the challenge of cerebral palsy would not allow him to simply get on a regular motorcycle and pursue his goal. Brent’s solution to this problem was to find a trike, to overcome the challenge of balance, and to enjoy the fun of motorcycling! After an intense search, Brent found a very nice converted Honda Silver Wing trike that his family purchased; now Brent enjoys riding as much as possible.
Brent also is involved with therapeutic horse-riding as a leader, giving instructions and helping wherever he is needed. Brent’s involvement in the community, especially with 4-H, has helped break down barriers for younger kids with disabilities who also want to be involved.